OPL Boba Time 🥤 — Sei and DeFi Future | with Alvin Kan @Sei

Welcome to the second round of OPL Boba Time! Today, we have the pleasure of hosting Alvin Kan, the Head Of Asia from Sei Labs. Get ready for a thrilling deep-dive into Alvin’s adventure in Web3
Elva Yu

Disclaimer: The views in this podcast do not represent the guests’ organizations, and mentioned projects are not investment advice. Sip some boba, enjoy afternoon tea, and let’s chat Web3! 🍵🌐💼

Elva: First of all, it’s a pity that we can’t have you in person for a Boba chat. What would you say is your favorite drink/boba shop in Singapore?

Alvin: KOI milk tea it is!

Elva: Could you briefly introduce your career journey and how you entered the Web3 space?

Alvin: I initially began my career in government and tourism, focusing on industry and business development. Later, I joined LinkedIn during its early stages in Asia. At that time, explaining LinkedIn was a challenge, as many were unfamiliar with it. Over nine years, I transitioned from sales to a relationship management role. Eventually, I shifted my focus to data analytics, leading the team in Asia Pacific. It was fascinating to utilize data to connect companies and governments with talent.
After a fulfilling tenure at LinkedIn, I sought to explore emerging technologies. This led me to Binance, where I worked as a data analytics manager. Shortly after, I delved into the Web3 realm on the BNB chain, where I spent a year and a half. I developed a deep appreciation for Web3, particularly its decentralized finance concept. What truly captivates me is that Web3 isn’t confined to a single industry, but rather, it’s a widespread movement. It shares similarities with AI, which permeates various sectors. Web3’s emphasis on decentralization and user empowerment is relevant across industries. Many may not fully grasp its far-reaching impact, but I’m enthusiastic about being part of this movement, and it’s where I’ve focused my efforts in recent years.

Elva: What motivated you to join Sei, especially considering Binance’s significant presence? What drew you to a startup like Sei Labs?

Alvin: I’ve always had a passion for startups, and my time at Sei has embodied the nimbleness and speed that define a true startup experience. I’m thoroughly enjoying my time here. As for why I joined Sei, it all comes down to the vision. We often emphasize that trading is the cornerstone of crypto, and Sei wholeheartedly embraces this perspective. Whether it’s GameFi or decentralized finance, there are essentially two types of applications. You have direct trading platforms like Uniswap, where users maintain full control of their assets. Then there are successful games, like STEPN, which also hinge on significant trading activity. This is the core Web3 element. Sei’s vision is to be the premier platform for trading apps in Web3, and that strongly resonated with me. I wanted to be part of this forward-looking vision.

Elva: What kind of projects and hackers are you seeking for the OPL x Sei hackathon?

Alvin: From a business development standpoint, we’re actively seeking innovative developers who bring fresh ideas and activities for experimentation. While trading is a central focus, we’re keen on attracting a diverse range of developers, spanning DeFi, GameFi, SocialFi, and more. These sectors play a significant role in trading, and we aim to integrate them into the Sei ecosystem.

Elva: What kind of startups are you hoping to see through OPL x Sei Incubator?

Alvin: Certainly. When evaluating startups, there are key factors that hold weight across the board, not just for Sei. Firstly, the strength and experience of the founding team are paramount. Their entrepreneurial background, prior startup endeavors, traction achieved, product development expertise, and level of commitment are crucial indicators. Strong founders can propel an idea to great heights.
Secondly, we scrutinize the concept itself. In the Web3 space, while some projects may be following existing trends, we’re on the lookout for true innovation, something with the potential to become a standout dApp. Predicting what will be a game-changer is always uncertain, as the crypto space is full of surprises. For instance, the impact of projects like Axie Infinity was unprecedented. They brought forth innovations, from changes in tokenomics to pioneering play-to-earn models. So, we’re seeking projects that approach things differently, ones that truly innovate.
Finally, we consider if the project has the potential to draw a substantial user base. Ultimately, it boils down to the innovation behind the product and the strength of the founding team. With OnePiece Labs’ extensive experience in identifying promising venture founders and incubating startups, this is where our strengths align.

Elva: It’s interesting to note the popularity of Sei tokens in the Korean market. Could you shed some light on why there’s such high demand there?

Alvin: Certainly. We’ve dedicated significant attention to various markets, and Korea is among them. We’ve even assembled an Asian team to bolster our presence in regions like Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Southeast Asia. These markets hold immense potential in Asia. We aim to engage with builders and users alike. Our efforts have been geared towards ensuring that the broader Korean community is well-acquainted with Sei. It’s heartening to witness the enthusiasm for Sei in Korea. This endorsement is crucial. Additionally, the positive reception and excitement generated by our recent news have contributed to this positive sentiment in the market. We’ve also made concerted efforts to educate about Sei Tech. For instance, experiencing the speed of transactions on Sei firsthand highlights the impressive technology behind it. It’s my belief that people will truly appreciate the tech once they give it a try. Ultimately, our optimization efforts are directed at making Sei the premier trading platform.

Elva: How does that compare to other Layer 1s like Solana, Sui, and Aptos?

Alvin: Compared to other Layer 1 platforms like Solana, Sui, and Aptos, Sei differentiates itself with its sole focus on optimizing for the exchange of digital assets. By addressing the unique needs of exchange applications, Sei delivers the fastest time-to-finality in the industry, with a lower bound of 300ms. We have also leveraged two novel advancements in consensus research to offer Twin-Turbo consensus, reaching levels of performance that no other Layer 1 has achieved. While the other platforms offer a broader functionality, Sei’s specific design decisions allow it to provide a superior infrastructure for exchange applications.

Elva: What are some of the apps you’re excited about coming to Sei?

Alvin: There are hundreds of teams currently building on the Sei ecosystem and we are excited about every one of them. These range from DeFi DEXs, and NFT marketplaces to gaming economies and social trading apps, and many are moving from larger Layer 1s and Layer 2s like Ethereum, Solana, zkSync, and Polygon. With Sei’s focus on trading, it’s exciting to see the diverse range of apps that will be powered by our infrastructure, showcasing the versatility of our platform.

Elva: As the Head of BD, what partnerships are you currently seeking, or what initiatives have you undertaken that you’re particularly proud of?

Alvin: Certainly. When we analyze the ecosystem, there are several significant components. We have the DEXes, lending platforms, and more. Recently, we’ve seen a surge in the social elements within the space, evident in trending dApps on various L1s. Gaming remains a natural and substantial use case, as users increasingly desire ownership of in-game assets. This prevents loss when a game shuts down. We’re actively seeking applications in these areas. I’m pleased to announce that since Sei’s mainnet launch, we already have two DEXes live, a functioning game, and several NFT collections set to mint soon. Our ecosystem is rapidly expanding, with over 200 dApps committed to building on Sei. Initially, we have around 10 dApps onboarded, with many more set to join in the coming weeks. Our primary focus is on cultivating a robust pipeline of quality decentralized applications.